Cost Of Rural Crime
The latest NFU Mutual Rural Crime Survey shows that the direct costs of rural crime across the UK rose 6% to over £53m in 2011 - despite a very welcome fall in tractor thefts.
Increased frequency of metal and livestock theft, together with more losses of smaller but still valuable equipment such as quad bikes and tools, lie behind the rise.
The survey reveals that rural theft in the South West of England, including Devon, totalled an estimated £7.6 million in 2011.
Within Devon, it will probably come as no surprise to you to hear that tools, quad bikes and metals were identified as the items most commonly targeted by thieves.
Tractor, quad bike, oil and metal are also being targeted by rural thieves. Tractor thefts in the South West peaked in 2010 with 347 tractors worth over £1.7m stolen.
There was small drop in 2011, and early results for 2012 show a much more significant fall, with the number of tractors stolen and the cost of tractors stolen down over a third.
Over the last two years NFU Mutual has helped finance the ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service to the tune of £300,000 - with further support of £100,000 promised for 2013.
We have seen excellent results from this initiative in the last 12 months, saving far more in claims costs than the money we have put into the scheme.
The partnership has been successful in recovering stolen equipment and goods following thefts but also in disrupting the work of criminal gangs to prevent theft happening in the first place.
Joint work to recover tractors from overseas and checking on suspect vehicles has resulted in 22 stolen tractors being repatriated last year, sending a clear message to organised crime gangs that they are serious about recovering members' property.